Fortune Magazine published my story about Americans reinventing themselves last week. The genesis of the piece was my realizing that just about everyone I know is sitting in their office—if they even have an office—spending no small part of their day thinking: “How much longer is my job as I currently know it going to last?…And what the blank am I going to do next?”

Oh, and I’m not just talking about people in the media business. I’m talking about practically everyone except for tenured professors.

We’re living in the “Age of Disruption” — a time when technology has flattened the world, making it easier for new companies to be born, but more difficult for traditional companies to do anything but cut costs and cut jobs. In the Age of Disruption, change has become the only constant: business models are being torn up daily, and the skill-sets required of both workers and managers are in a constant state of redefinition.

I’m not a historian (and I don’t play one on TV) but I can’t recall reading about another period in history where everyone no matter their occupation, their education or their social status, seemed so uncertain and disconcerted about their job future…a time when everyone deep down was worried that they were, at most, a couple of years away from becoming obsolete.

Curious to know your thoughts. Feel free to comment here or toss me an email.


This content is published under the Creative Commons Attribution-NoDerivs 3.0 license.


3 Responses to “THE AGE OF DISRUPTION”

  1. Matt Sacks says:


    Great article and it’s exactly what I’ve been doing the past few years. I’m now a high school reading teacher and still work in video production on the side. I’m feeling inspired!

    Matt Sacks

  2. Stephen Lack says:

    The observation is astute and parallel to the children of the boom going into old age. This is a great period where the excesses are becoming evident and we may be running out of the ‘juices’ to leverage a positive change. Another writer friend moaned yesterday that it was getting impossible to write about people because half their time is spent online and as such their lives are less (interesting).
    The rate of change is certainly in hyperdrive, but it may be the 7 fat years before the line of 7 starving cows.The planet has a way of healing, maybe that’s what global warming is about, a fever to get rid of a virus.

  3. Lynn Moore says:

    Douglas – I read your Fortune cover story “Reinvention” and immediately recognized I’d been “disrupted” by 9/11 [boy, is that an understatement] when I lost a promising corporate job. I also recognized myself as a successful reinventor when you described it as someone who loves learning by doing. I believe there are insane amounts of reinventors incubating like cicada nymphs that will hatch in broods of 1-3 year increments because that’s how long it takes to manifest a great idea into a product. I speak from personal experience – once corporate creative services manager to online marketer to founder of an online website profile builder for college applicants. I look forward to being part of the Reinventors revolution in your follow up article!! Thanks for the insight.

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